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The sustainable future of packaging: A biodegradable paper beer bottle

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The sustainable future of packaging: A biodegradable paper beer bottle
Brilhuis-Meijer, Ellen; Saxena, Prateek
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Book of Abstracts. DTU's Sustain Conference 2015
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Citation (APA):
Brilhuis-Meijer, E., & Saxena, P. (2015). The sustainable future of packaging: A biodegradable paper beer bottle.
In Book of Abstracts. DTU's Sustain Conference 2015. [M-5] Lyngby: Technical University of Denmark.
The sustainable future of packaging: A biodegradable paper beer bottle
Ellen Brilhuis-Meijer1 and Prateek Saxena*1
1: DTU Mechanical Engineering
*Corresponding author email:
The vision of the Green Fiber Bottle (GFB) project is to develop the world’s first
paper beer bottle, which will be both recyclable and biodegradable. It is
intended to be an environmentally sustainable alternative to the existing glass
and plastic beer bottles. To achieve this, both the bottle and the production
process that is required to shape the cellulose fibers into the bottle need to be
developed. This is done in a collaboration between Carlsberg, EcoXpac,
Innovation Fund Denmark and DTU.
To ensure that the GFB will offer an environmentally friendly solution, sustainability will be integrated in
the development process. Ecodesign approaches will be selected and applied each step of the way for both
the bottle itself and the required technologies. One of these approaches will be the use of Life Cycle
Assessment (LCA). Early on, the LCA will be based on predictions and assumptions, which will be replaced
with more precise data whenever it becomes available. The resulting calculation of the potential
environmental impact provides insight into the areas that may require specific attention, such as energy
consumption during the production process, transportation and recycling. With the availability of more
precise data will come more detailed insight, allowing more precise assessment of materials and emissions
that may be of concern. Other sustainability considerations include the sourcing of bio-based materials,
biodegradability and prevention of waste.
Besides the sustainability considerations, there are many other challenges for developing the GFB. These
include production challenges, such as the required throughput for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)
and functional challenges, such as maintaining a pressure of up to 6 bar inside the bottle, limiting oxygen
ingress and achieving a shelf-life of at least 6 months.
To enable the production of the GFB, a new mass production process based on integrating fiber molding
and in-mold impulse drying technology will be developed, able to cope with the required production rate
and volume. Impulse drying is a technique to enhance the removal of water from paper pulp using a tool
heated to a temperature in the order of 250 °C. It exploits the partial vaporization of the liquid phase and
the consequently generated overpressure to quickly push the water out of the pulp which thus dries and
The impulse drying will reduce both the need for energy and the production time for each bottle, thereby
reducing the production cost significantly. In this way the price of a GFB is intended to be competitive with
existing market solutions, thus making it attractive for companies to use.
Sustain DTU Abstract: M-5
... A recent advancement in the category of MPP is the Green Fiber Bottle (GFB). The green product aims to replace the existing glass packaging for carbonated beverages with Energies 2020, 13, 2730 3 of 19 a sustainable paper-based packaging product [8,9]. From the energy perspective, efficient pulping methods could substantially reduce the cost of energy use in the preparation of paper pulp [10,11] and from the tooling perspective, additive manufacturing based tools for paper molding could further reduce the tooling costs and minimize the lead time for tool production [12]. ...
... However, a variety of challenges preclude full incorporation [13][14][15][16], as pointed out in Figure 2. MPP is the Green Fiber Bottle (GFB). The green product aims to replace the existing glass packaging for carbonated beverages with a sustainable paper-based packaging product [8,9]. From the energy perspective, efficient pulping methods could substantially reduce the cost of energy use in the preparation of paper pulp [10,11] and from the tooling perspective, additive manufacturing based tools for paper molding could further reduce the tooling costs and minimize the lead time for tool production [12]. ...
Full-text available
Sustainability is becoming more and more important as a decision attribute in the manufacturing environment. However, quantitative metrics for all the aspects of the triple bottom line are difficult to assess. Within the present paper, the sustainability metrics are considered in tandem with other traditional manufacturing metrics such as time, flexibility, and quality and a novel framework is presented that integrates information and requirements from Computer-Aided Technologies (CAx) systems. A novel tool is outlined for considering a number of key performance indicators related to the triple bottom line when deciding the most appropriate process route. The implemented system allows the assessment of alternative process plans considering the market demands and available resources.
... Due to constant thrive for sustainable alternatives, eco-friendly products such as tetra-pak R have emerged. However significant research is undergoing on development of molded paper products for carbonated beverages [3], [4]. Molded paper products can broadly be classified into Thick wall, Transfer molded, Thermoformed and Processed [5]. ...
... One such product is the Green Fiber Bottle (GFB). The GFB is intended to be an environmentally sustainable alternative to the existing glass and plastic beer bottles [3]. A quality evaluation of such bottles was recently reported by Saxena et al. [6]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Packaging products find their significance in almost all classes of consumer goods and products. The use of plastic and metal based packaging for beverages is highly dominant. However, there is a constant urge for development of eco-friendly packaging alternatives. The article focuses on characterizing an inflatable core assisted paper bottle molding process with respect to the obtained fiber distribution in the bottle. Distribution of paper fibers affect product characteristics such as thickness and mechanical strength of the bottle. Assessment of fiber orientation using structure tensor analysis is therefore performed. The results confirmed non-uniform fiber compaction in the paper bottle. This gives rise to non-conformities such as non-uniform thickness distribution. The approach discussed in the work can be utilized as a Non Destructive Testing technique to evaluate the quality of paper bottles.
... The discussion in the current work is limited to the molded paper products (MPPs) only. An interesting application of the MPPs is as a packaging material for carbonated beverages (a paper bottle) [11]. MPPs are defined as a class of packaging products produced by molding of paper pulp. ...
Paper-based packaging products are a cheap and sustainable alternative to their plastic counterparts. The manufacturing process of paper molding is a relatively newer concept, and the tooling aspect remains somewhat unknown. The work done in this paper establishes a tool design approach for the molding of paper products. These products are also sometime referred to as the molded paper products (MPP). Functional requirements are identified and translated to process chains. The concept of non-deterministic and deterministic tooling is introduced. Tooling process chains based on micro-metal additive manufacturing are defined and implemented. The process chain is utilized to manufacture micro features of size 300 μm in a high aspect ratio. A comparative study on validation of tooling process chains is also discussed, and the suitability of rapid tooling over sintered tools is highlighted in this work.
... The work done by Søllner is the basis for the development of new solutions for the production of paper bottles, even for carbonated beverages. Such a bottle is termed as the green fiber bottle (GFB) [6][7][8][9]. Saxena et al. [10] discussed and presented an assessment of the tools used for the molding of paper bottles and highlighted the challenges associated with the molding process. From a tooling perspective, the tool should be able to effectively flush out water from the pulp suspension during the molding process. ...
Paper-based packaging products, due to their excellent sustainable properties are preferred over the glass, plastic, and metal-based packaging solutions. The paper bottle molding process is very new in this category, and the tooling aspect is not well explored. Existing tooling solutions offer certain limitations in the molding process such as clogging of channels, low open-area fraction, low fatigue life, and longer cycle times. With the utilization of additive manufacturing techniques, the tooling can not only be made more economical and produced in shorter time duration but also more efficient. VAT photopolymerization based soft tooling process chain is highlighted and discussed in this work. Design of micro-features and their fabrication is carried out using UV light mask projection method. A characterization approach for precision manufacturing of micro-features using X-ray Computed Tomography is also discussed. Validation of the soft tooling process chain and its effectiveness against the conventional tools is presented and discussed in this work. It is shown that the proposed soft tooling process chain for the manufacturing of molds for paper bottle production is a better performing and cheaper alternative to existing solutions implemented in industry.
... With a growing concern for sustainability of consumer products, paper is being considered for large number of applications. The Green Fiber Bottle is a biodegradable paper bottle that finds its application for carbonated beverages [1]. The product being non-homogeneous in nature demands a reliable product quality characterization technique. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Due to ever increasing demand of sustainability and biodegradability, there arises a need to develop environmental friendly packaging products. Green fiber bottle is a packaging product for carbonated beverages, made out of cellulose fibers. The production process accounts for moulding paper pulp in the desired shape and structure. However, there are certain limitations associated to the product characterization using tactile measuring methods. In this work, a new approach has been applied for defect analysis and quality control of non-homogenous prototype paper products using computed tomography.
... Paper Water Bottle ® (Figure 1) has prototyped an eco-friendly replacement for plastic water/beverage bottles with a shell made entirely of renewable molded fiber and an internal barrier that requires less plastic than a standard plastic bottle [20]. The Green Fiber Bottle project [21], [22] aims to go one better by making a fully molded paper bottle removing the need for an inner liner and making the bottle completely biodegradable. A consortium of industrial and academic partners are collaborating with Carlsberg A/S, who aims to package its beer in the new bottle. ...
Full-text available
Eco‐friendly packaging such as moulded pulp products have gained commercial importance in the recent years. However, it remains a greatly under‐researched area, and there is an arising need to consolidate the best practices from research and industry in order to increase its implementation. The goal of this paper is to give an overview of the main aspects involved in the manufacture of moulded pulp products. This includes a classification of moulded pulp products, historical and current applications, production processes, materials, mechanical properties and environmental sustainability. Moreover, based on the latest research in the field, an innovative drying technique that utilizes concepts derived from impulse drying is presented, and the implementation of this process technology is discussed.
... Our results also provide support for those companies wanting to promote glass over other packaging materials (e.g., see the Vidrio es vida campaign by Peldar, highlighting the sonic benefits of glass bottles over other beverage packaging materials; see [42].) Ultimately though, the decision about which packaging material to use always reflects a trade-off between the cost of different materials/formats, the cost of transportation to market, as well as questions of sustainability and recyclability (Bland, 2008 [43]; Brilhuis-Meijer and Saxena, 2015 [44]), not to mention the impact (psychological or otherwise) of packaging material on perceived taste and quality judgments. In premium categories, such as fine wine, many producers clearly feel it worthwhile to make their glass bottles significantly heavier in order to convey the perception of quality (see Piqueras-Fiszman and Spence, 2012 [28]). ...
Full-text available
The matter of this thesis is the development, characterization and ultimately modeling of the manufacturing process of molded pulp products. In particular, focus was placed on studying and optimizing the drying step, as the cost of energy required may be from eight to twenty times that needed for pre-forming. Moving towards the 2021 European ban on throwaway plastics, eco-friendly packaging solutions are strongly emerging, and molded pulp will certainly become one of the most preferred replacements. Yet, increasing R&D effort is essential to meet the growing demand and consolidate best practices. The overall objective of the Ph.D. project was to develop, characterize, and define a methodology for efficiently manufacturing molded pulp parts. This was done by applying a systematic approach based on geometrical tolerancing and metrology, analysis and experimental characterization of the molding process. A model of the drying process was also developed and validated. The research work focused solely on the most advanced manufacturing approach currently used in the molded pulp industry, i.e. thermoforming. In this thesis, the state-of-the-art of the molded pulp industry is firstly presented as a foundation for the following issues. The research method adopted in collecting the available information focused exclusively on molded pulp, omitting similar packaging products such as cardboard or honeycomb panels. The experimental part of the thesis commences with a description of the different methodologies and equipment employed. The objectives of the experiments were to study, understand and control the manufacturing process, as well as characterize the final parts. To do so, the effects and relations of the process parameters with the final product were investigated and established. Subsequently, a description of the physical phenomena occurring during a thermoforming process is outlined. Further, the process simulations of the drying step are evaluated regarding the comprehensiveness of the model and the experimental validation. Afterwards, the concepts, methods and solutions presented in the previous chapters are applied in the context of the Green Fiber Bottle (GFB) manufacturing. The methodologies and model simulations were proven as valuable tools for the parts and process optimization.
The field of packaging products is a very old and important field, almost tracing back to the start of human evolution. In modern times, the demand for better packaging has been an ever-growing industry, due to the increased demand for exotic and easily perishable goods. Therefore, the production of paper packaging has appeared as a viable solution to this problem. The purpose of this thesis is the design and development of tooling for molding of packaging products for carbonated beverages such as beer, cola, and other fizzy drinks. An introduction to pulp and paper-based packaging is outlined with a focus on the manufacturing of molded paper products. The most recent manufacturing method for the molding of paper bottles is thoroughly investigated and analyzed. A Computed Tomography based approach for quality assessment of the paper bottles is proposed and discussed. Shortcomings associated with the conventional paper bottle molding process are highlighted. The key functional requirements are defined for the molding process. For each individual requirement, all the possible alternatives to fulfill the requirements are introduced. Two or more individual processes can be synergized in order to develop a robust manufacturing process. Furthermore, two tool design approaches are introduced in this work. The utility and importance of each of the techniques, assessment and the manufacturing process for the tool are discussed. Furthermore, innovative tooling process chains for the manufacturing of deterministic tools with micro-evacuation channels are designed, implemented and analyzed. The inflatable core assisted process is modeled and the need for the development of a coreless manufacturing process is discussed. A new method based on rotary assisted coreless manufacturing process is designed. A systematic Design for X approach is implemented. Starting from the problem definition and need identification to conceptual design, embodiment design and detailed design are developed. A proof of concept is also discussed in this work. Safety analysis of the critical parts at high rotational speed is done. The parts and components are manufactured and assembled. The control and instrumentation of the workbench are designed. A brief assessment of the workbench is also included in the work. Such a manufacturing method is an inventive step in the field of molding of paper bottles and can be commercialized to replace all the existing glass, plastic and metal-based packaging products.
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